SEATTLE — Today, at the Our Oceans Conference in Valparaiso, Chile, several counties announced new commitments to highly protected marine areas and moved other commitments to confirmed or designated status. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Chile were among the countries making these commitments to strongly protect areas around the Pitcairn Islands, the Kermadec Islands, and the Desventuradas (Unfortunate) Islands and Easter Islands respectively. Adding all these together, highly protected marine conservation areas will increase in scope by 2,473,000 square kilometers (954,826 sq statute miles or 721,011 sq nautical miles) around the world. Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in securing strong protection for the world’s oceans, applauded the new announcements.
“The announcements made at today’s conference highlight both the urgent need for coastal states to designate more no-take marine reserves and the wonderful progress that some are making,” says Dr. Lance Morgan, the president of Marine Conservation Institute. “With recent commitments, the world will go from 0.94% to 1.64% of our global oceans strongly protected, an important step for humankind, our ocean’s health, and biodiversity. But obviously we have a long way to go before we reach the 10% goal by 2020 set by international agreement”, he continued.
The Power of Marine Reserves
No-take marine reserves are the most efficient and effective type of marine protected area. These reserves prohibit all extractive practices such as fishing, mining, dredging and oil and gas development, delivering the tangible conservation benefits. Dozens of scientific studies in the last decade have shown that, in most cases, strong marine reserves encourage biodiversity and help marine wildlife populations recover from harmful human activities inside and outside their boundaries.
Many marine scientists agree that at least 20 percent of each marine biogeographic region needs protection in order to avert large-scale extinction in the oceans as temperatures and acidity rises in the next few decades. With protection, marine life has a better chance to resist stresses from climate change. To provide guidance about how and where to best place protection, Marine Conservation Institute developed the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES, pronounced “glories”), a strategic, science-based way to safeguard global marine ecosystems by 2030.
To enhance marine protection efforts, Marine Conservation Institute built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database, MPAtlas.org, which provides information on current and proposed marine protected areas. With this tool, Marine Conservation Institute has published a number of reports on MPAs around the world, including a comparison of the world’s 20 economically largest countries –the G20.
About Marine Conservation Institute
Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. Founded in 1996, Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle, near San Francisco and in Washington DC. For more information, please go to: www.marine-conservation.org
For more information, media and bloggers only, please contact:
Lance Morgan, President
Marine Conservation Institute
Phone- +1 707-531-7650
MPAtlas.org Program Manager
Phone- +1 206-686-6370
 Aichi Biodiversity Targets: Number 11
“By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes” From Convention on Biological Diversity. Accessed at: https://www.cbd.int/sp/targets/.